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Old 02-20-2012   #101
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Just thinking: what Leica gear do I own?

Confining it strictly to "Leica" branded gear I own an M3 (picked up on eBay some years ago for a very good price), an Elmar-M 50mm/f2.8 (bought near-new at some discount from full-whack, but it wasn't one of their more expensive lenses), a Summilux 75mm/f1.4 (bought 2nd-hand before the big price increases at a still-better price as it required a CLA before it was usable), a Summitar 50mm/f2 (quite cheap 2nd hand) and a Summaron 35mm/f3.5 (also inexpensive 2nd-hand).

Adding all my other LTM and M-Mount gear (Hexar RF cameras, a Canon P and 4xKonica, 2xCanon, 1xCV and 1xCZ lenses) and I have quite a lot of good "Leica-ish" equipment which I enjoy using. Yet all this hasn't gone near to costing what I've spent on Canon Digital SLR gear.

Sure, I could easily spend more that I have for all the above on a single brand-new Leica item. But just because I can doesn't mean I have to. I've had a great deal of use of most of the above without breaking my wallet.

Sure there are things I'd like to have or try (we can all dream!). If I really pushed, I could probably afford them. (Well, with top-end Leica gear, probably only one at any given time.) I just don't want to, at least not that badly. If others do, or are in a position where they can afford whatever they want, that's no skin off my nose. In fact I'm sure it helps: they're the ones keeping Leica in business - and 2nd hand gear has to come from somewhere.

...Mike
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Old 02-20-2012   #102
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I don't.

ala carte M7 for me.
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Old 02-20-2012   #103
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I suspect that most of us reading RFF like beautiful, well made equipment almost as much as we love the pictures we make. A fine piece of equipment, for which you may have sacrificed, may make your pictures better...or not.
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Old 02-20-2012   #104
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As far as I am concerned you haven't hurt anyone so you can do whatever you want, no justification needed.
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Old 02-20-2012   #105
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I have been using M cameras and lenses since 1971, I bought most of my M lenses in the 70's used except for my 90mm 2.0 and 28mm 2.8 which were new in 74. You don't want to know the price I paid for them then. I have never wanted to replace any of my M lenses it was a lifetime purchase, so they were very cheap in the long run. Now I stopped using them for about 3 years and really missed them. Kept looking at M-8's but glad I waited for a GXR and M module. Remember don't ever sell your M lenses....

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Old 02-20-2012   #106
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I personally wanted NOT to like Leica. I did not want to spend the money and did not want to enter into what some regard as an elitist realm. It was despite these concerns that I did so, purely because the 35mm RF tool gave me what I needed:

Small, easily hidden under clothing, coats etc.
Simple, rugged, reliable.
Great lenses.

I wanted something longer lasting than the CV bodies and the Zeiss Ikon was still a little untested, I had read about RF drift and other niggles that I could not deal with when stuck in Afghanistan, so I put my money down on Leica.

I bought into the system in 2006, with a great market new body, now worth what I paid for it despite going from new to used.

Were I doing it today, I would likely buy used M6s, rather than MPs and not bought any of the new products I did.

The only mistake I made with Leica was in selling gear. I sold a lens worth about $3000 more now than it was then. Stupidest thing I have ever done.
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Old 02-21-2012   #107
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This turned out as a very interesting thread indeed!

I feel now that it´s possible to own and enjoy using these silly priced lenses/cameras and at the same time admit that they are indeed silly priced.

I think asking these questions hardly indicates that one couldn´t enjoy his/her life ??

This isn´t buyer´s remorse, i´d say. I had that many years ago when i bought some nice lenses i couldn't really afford for my Pentax SLR... This isn´t the case now.
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Old 02-21-2012   #108
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DSLRs that are worth as much now as they were when you bought them? I'd like to know what those are!
-I must have been unclear; what I was trying to say was that with the exception of two DSLRs and a lens, just about all my gear can be sold for what I gave for it in the first place.

Please bear with me; English is my third language.
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Old 02-21-2012   #109
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OK, well, um, we seem to have exhausted our definitions of "justify" and now can we decide who we have to justify it to?

As I see it, it's my money, I've not had other priorities at the time and so can't see that it matters what I spend or what I spend it on. As it's not illegal yet...

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Old 02-21-2012   #110
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OK, well, um, we seem to have exhausted our definitions of "justify" and now can we decide who we have to justify it to?

As I see it, it's my money, I've not had other priorities at the time and so can't see that it matters what I spend or what I spend it on. As it's not illegal yet...

Regards, David
So you justify it with 'it is my money'. I agree as long as you can justify it to yourself it is ok (as long as it is legal and so on).

I have a lot of other things to spend money on and my photograpic adventures can be done with much cheaper alternatives. So I guess I can not justify leica prices.
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Old 02-21-2012   #111
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Balancing "needs" with "wants" is a tricky bit of economics.

Recently, I felt I wanted a second M body so that I don't have to change film or change lenses if I'm using the same film in both. Sheer convenience and sheer luxury in my opinion as I'm not a professional and I could have managed if I'd needed to.

Although I could have afforded a second body in addition to my existing stuff, I didn't want to and I was prepared to sacrifice / trade some of it to offset the cost. However, there are some bits of kit whoch, though lovely, have little attraction for me as I don't perceive the need for them - given the way I shoot and the kit I have already. A Leica Noctilux lens is in that category as far as I'm concerned as I'm more than happy with the output from my Summicron and Elmarit lenses. But that's just me....

If you can "afford" it (i.e. it doesn't cause you to have to make difficult compromises elsewhere in your life) it makes you happy and gives you the results you want, don't worry about it. If it does any of the aforementioned, it's probably not what you need and possibly not what you want.
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Old 02-21-2012   #112
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The M9... sold a bunch of used items (photographic [M8.2] and non) to get the cash because I wanted a digital camera that was closest to my favorite film camera, the M6. Regarding lenses, I only own a 50mm summarit 2.5 as my only Leica lens (bought used)...the rest are CV or Zeiss because I cannot justify Leica lens prices.
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Old 02-21-2012   #113
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Some perspective (if you'll excuse the word). There's some Leica equipment I'd love to own but can't and won't afford, but Leica isn't the only company who produces expensive lenses. In some ways I lust after this even more:

http://www.adorama.com/CA400282U.html

It may not be the kind of shot that's much appreciated around here, because it's not the kind of photo many here like to take. But as much as I like, well, Leica-like photos, I also enjoy this kind of thing:



It isn't the best photo in the world, and far from my best shot of a Rainbow Lorikeet. But it was taken this afternoon, and the lens I took it with is not a Leica lens, won't mount on a Leica camera and probably never will nor should. It's also the most expensive lens I own. The one referenced above is a lens I'd dearly love to own, but can't or won't afford.

Sometimes I think people here get too carried away. Leica isn't the only photographic company in the world which produces very expensive equipment.

...Mike
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Old 02-21-2012   #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sig View Post
So you justify it with 'it is my money'. I agree as long as you can justify it to yourself it is ok (as long as it is legal and so on).

I have a lot of other things to spend money on and my photograpic adventures can be done with much cheaper alternatives. So I guess I can not justify leica prices.
Um, well, I was justifying not justifying as it's my money and that's the end of the matter. So I asked who I had to justify it to.

My fear is that they will knock on the door and ask me to justify buying German equipment when English is available. Pointing out that I'm Welsh and the Germanicans* were a Celtic tribe also might not get me far.

Regards, David

* The ones the Romans duffed up, not Hitler's dream world.
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Old 02-21-2012   #115
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I can't.

That's why I only own the (relatively) "reasonably" priced Leica stuff and fill the gaps with other brands.
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Old 02-21-2012   #116
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Photography for me is purely a hobby. I love it, but it's a hobby, therefore I buy used and only buy what I really want and what I can afford. I guess that means I "justify" it to myself before buying something for photography.

When it comes to music, however, which I do semi-professionally, and at times professionally, I have no problem investing in top-notch guitars, amps, etc., because I need to rely on them for my career. I need to know my guitar is well-maintained and will work and that it will sound as best as it can. I can't cut corners when it comes to music gear. Justification isn't really needed.

When I go to the classifieds and see someone selling off excess gear and see numerous lenses going for $3K and $4K apiece, I am dumbfounded that anyone could possibly have much money invested in glass, but then again, if those people actually needed them for professional work, then so be it. If you can afford it and you need it, the more power to you! Life is too short. You can't take it with you!
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Old 02-21-2012   #117
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Why. because I kinda fell into Leica with the type of shooting I was doing, and still do. And now, with a load of Leica glass, and only ONE digital rangefinder in the market ( guess whose?), it made (ahem) economical sense to buy the M9, rather than have my lenses gather dust on a shelf.

Also, if you've ever shot Leica: You'll know why you buy 'em. You 'll know...
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Old 02-21-2012   #118
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How I justify any photographic purchase is how it is going to enable me to get the image I want...

I bought Leica to use for shooting over a thousand rolls of Kodachrome. It made a difference in certain light, not so much in others. It also made certain types of images easier to get and some harder, I saw no difference in using a FM3A or a Leica M6 in shooting street, focusing being faster on the FM3A when the subject was not centered resulting in less "Hang-time" in terms of the camera being at your eye. My professional opinion as to Leica being the best camera for street? Not really, it is up to the photographer, I get great street photos with a Hasselblad for pete's sake…

After Kodachrome was done, i sold most of the really expensive Leica gear, simply did not see the same difference in using it with a month long rental of an M9. A few seconds of adjusting the sliders in post with an image from a D700 or X100 in post, viola, Leica image!

So last year, I re-assembled a lighter kit, M6, M3 along with a 28 CV, 35 F/2 asph, 50 F/2 ZM and a rarely used 90 CV. I also used an FM3A with a 35/2 AIS, all with Tri-X. When I printed the images from the Leica 35/2 and the Nikon one and looked at them with other people, we really saw very little difference in technical terms but saw a fairly significant difference in composition and impact…

Because I could see what I was doing in terms of background versus foreground and focusing subjects off center, 8 times out of 10, the images made with the FM3A and 35 F2 were simply better.

Last week, I sold everything except one M3 and the 50 ZM and put all that wonderful cash into thousands of dollars worth of paper, film and chemistry.

A few years ago, I could justify using more Leica gear, including the 50 asph, not anymore, especially with the prices the way they are and killer cameras like the silent X100. Sure, they are fun to use, feel good, look neato, pretty quiet, but when it comes right down to it, I am a photographer first and the impact of the photograph is essential.

As a professional photographer who's future rests on shooting images with great impact and then selling fine art black and white darkroom prints, in terms of how the photos turn out, I see hardly any reason to justify the new and used prices of Leica gear.

No regrets in buying it for what I needed it for, no regrets in selling it because the job is done and the money is better used for other needs...
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Old 02-21-2012   #119
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If one can afford to buy something, there is no need to "justify" to anyone. If one needs a tool for the business, there is only the business decision. If neither of the aforementioned situations are applicable, one buys what one wants.
That pretty much says it all.

Buying Leica cameras and lenses is an investment for a lifetime, not a self centered indulgence for the foolish yet well heeled.

I carry and use my Leica M gear every day. My M4-P and lenses have opened the gates to a whole new dimension of photographic vision and way of making images. I sold off my Mamiya 7ll kit with three lenses to help fund my Leica investment. I have never regretted making that choice. Sometimes bigger is not always better.

In the end, it's not about money and "justification." Its about making images and in a way that makes the process and the end product more enjoyable.

I do not want the words, "He could not 'justify' the cost of a Leica camera" carved on my grave stone. Where's the glory or wisdom in that??
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Old 02-21-2012   #120
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As said, the results don't justify the price in my mind. Not even in the case of my second hand kit I looked long and hard for. But granted, it is damn nice to own something like this:


Camera porn - Recovered Leica M2 w. Summicron DR by Ronald_H, on Flickr
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Old 02-21-2012   #121
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Buying Leica cameras and lenses is an investment for a lifetime, not a self centered indulgence for the foolish yet well heeled.
Actually, it's many things for many people and like it or not making an affluence statement has pretty much always been a factor in purchasing Leica equipment for some people. Really, how else does one explain something like the Luxus (came out in 1930)? Precisely what practical photographic purpose can gold-plating a camera body serve?

And then there's all the collectors who purchase Leicas just to stick them in a glass case, lest any signs of actual usage cause their value to plummet.

It's more than just that, of course. In addition to being a luxury brand that appeals to the well-heeled, Leica products also have attributes that make them excellent photographic tools, and have been the favorites of some professional photographers (and many amateurs) for years as well.

But, make no mistake, snob appeal has always been part of the picture. At least for some.

Last edited by n5jrn : 02-21-2012 at 13:11. Reason: add final paragraph
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Old 02-22-2012   #122
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The justification for me was I wanted a digital RANGEFINDER camera. The first "real" camera I used was my Dad's old Vitomatic II rangefinder, but with digital I had gone in a different direction with all the bells and whistles. I wanted to get back to the basic and simple RF process. I could have bought an Epson or an M9 but I thought the Epson was too old and the M9 too expensive so the M8 was it.

I have owned it for a year and love it more than the day I got it. It has made photography FUN again. This was confirmed on a recent trip with my "more advanced" digital MFT camera... I hated the viewfinder... didn't like all the controls that could be changed. Couldn't wait to get back to my simple M8.

I will keep it as long as I possibly can. Heck I even store it out on a shelf in my living room because I even enjoy just looking at it. Photography is a hobby for me and the Leica has made every aspect of it fun.
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Old 02-22-2012   #123
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But, make no mistake, snob appeal has always been part of the picture. At least for some.
I've never been sure exactly whom they thought they were going to impress, though. All right, it's hard to ignore a Luxus, but Mamiya, Rollei, Hasselblad and maybe others have brought out gold-plated cameras too, and have never (or very rarely) been accused of snob appeal. But unless you're carrying a gold-plated camera, who is going to notice you're carrying a Leica? Or anything else? A few fellow photographers might, but even then, how impressed are they going to be?

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Old 02-22-2012   #124
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I've never been sure exactly whom they thought they were going to impress, though. All right, it's hard to ignore a Luxus, but Mamiya, Rollei, Hasselblad and maybe others have brought out gold-plated cameras too, and have never (or very rarely) been accused of snob appeal. But unless you're carrying a gold-plated camera, who is going to notice you're carrying a Leica? Or anything else? A few fellow photographers might, but even then, how impressed are they going to be?

Cheers,

R.
It's interesting that you mention that. I was surprised how many people notice a Leica. For instance, when I was traveling in Australia 3 people in the Circular Quay area (waterfront around the Opera House) said "Ohhh Leica" one guy even called out to me from his cafe seat. Nice guy and he frequents RFF and was ordering his own M. That being said I find it more concerning than positive. I would prefer people didnt know I was carrying a $2,500 camera body + lens.
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Old 02-22-2012   #125
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It's interesting that you mention that. I was surprised how many people notice a Leica. For instance, when I was traveling in Australia 3 people in the Circular Quay area (waterfront around the Opera House) said "Ohhh Leica" one guy even called out to me from his cafe seat. Nice guy and he frequents RFF and was ordering his own M. That being said I find it more concerning than positive. I would prefer people didnt know I was carrying a $2,500 camera body + lens.
Equally, I find it surprising that you get such a reaction so often. At most, I'd guess that half a dozen people a year comment on my Leicas. Though once I did have two people in one day (in Lijiang) comment on my Alpa.

Next question: is it probable that the people who notice Leicas are the ones who are going to steal them?

And, just because someone knows that Leicas are 'expensive cameras', it does not mean that they can easily tell an M2 (a few hundred dollars) from an M9 (several thousand).

Don't get me wrong: I'm not arguing with you. It's just a line of inquiry that I'd be interested to see developed.

Cheers,

R.
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